#11 The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis: The Opportunity of Climate Change

The opportunity of climate change like any serious condition is to really examine the underlying causes of what’s going on. And in many cases we need that, we need that motivation individually and collectively. So rather than looking at climate change as a bad thing, I really look at climate change as a really profound opportunity individually and collectively and maybe that’s exactly what we needed. Maybe climate change is exactly what we needed right now for us to really address what’s going on and I believe that is true. In the last part of the last chapter of my book, I talk about specifically the opportunity of climate change and I say that in addition to the potential catastrophe of climate change there is the real significant opportunity, it’s to look at where climate change comes from. And as I write about and as I’ve been talking about climate change comes from an overvaluing of The Yang and the devaluing of the yin.

And climate change can be very scary you know in the opening of the book I write about tropical storm Irene and how the floods that resulted really devastated Vermont and New England and a lot of the US. And so it’s not to deny that. It’s not to pretend that climate change is not a serious condition. It is a serious condition not only in the US but around the world. The increase of storms, the increase of fires, the increase of drought, the increase of climate stabilization is very real and it’s very possible. It will get a lot worse very quickly. But rather than labeling that, rather than saying well that’s a bad thing or a catastrophic thing, if we step back to it, step back from that, we can see it really as a very exciting opportunity because when symptoms have gotten to a severe state it really can shake things up. People come in here who have diagnoses whatever they are, significant diagnosis for example like cancer, it really I think provides the motivation to make changes and that if we didn’t have that serious condition maybe we would be less motivated to make the changes. So the opportunity of climate change is really for us to reevaluate and reimagine our lives because what’s happening ecologically is also happening culturally and that’s what’s happening individually. So the opportunity is to look at what’s working and what’s not working. And I think despite the stories, we’re encouraged to believe in our culture despite the stories we’re fed in the media. Things are not working, things are not working individually on a community level or family level and certainly not on a cultural level.

So the opportunity of climate change is to move back towards health. It’s to reimagine our cultural systems, our economy, our medical system or educational system to really reimagine what a good life is because so much of what we’re encouraged to believe a good life is more, more stuff, more activity or busyness and none of those things are bad activity stuff doing things that’s not inherently bad but it’s gotten to be so out of balance that even those things that are supposedly meaningful really for many of us are not meaningful. We’re encouraged to believe that simply because something is new is better than something that’s old, that doing something is better than not doing something, that yang is better than yin. And that simply doesn’t work, it doesn’t work individually, it doesn’t work collectively and it doesn’t work ecologically. So the opportunity for climate change is really to look at the assumptions in our own lives, look at the assumptions in our culture and really look at honestly what’s working, what’s not working. So for me that’s very exciting, it’s like working with someone with cancer. I work with a number of people with cancer or condition like Lyme disease. I work with a lot of people with Lyme disease. When people are– when the diagnosis is at an advanced state, it really has the potential to open things up, as the potential to look at things like diet, things like activity levels, things like sleep, things like how that person with that condition looks at the world. So in addition to the possible catastrophe, there’s also the really deep opportunity to look at what’s promoting health and what’s not. And I really think we have that strong encouragement now both in terms of the extraordinary cancer rates, we have as well as really the dysfunction or culture and certainly with the climate crisis, it’s really our collective wake-up call.